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posted by [personal profile] bethofalltrades at 09:40pm on 24/03/2009 under ,
So tour happened. Five days in Austin for SXSW, two nights with a day in between in Houston and two days and two nights in New Orleans.

The night we drove to Houston I had so many brilliant ideas in the quiet after Amanda fell asleep, but I was driving and couldn't blog. Better probably. I had an incredible moment as I drove past miles and miles of flat lands and scrub in silence: silence does not exist in my life. My brain went in to hyperdrive almost as soon as we were out of town, flashing random thoughts and going on epic tangents and spinning itself in circles. It was uncomfortable. But then, 20 miles in to the silence, it stilled and opened. I felt like a human being again.

I think more silence in my life is called for. I was surprised at how fast and hard the neurons started firing as soon as the quiet settled in. They'd been built up a long time and as soon as they had room they went nuts. My brain is a mouse that lives in a cage the size of your hand. It escapes into the middle of a field and runs in circles. It goes nuts from the expanse of freedom and the lack of noise.

Amanda says she doesn't want to be a human camera, documenting every moment of life. I'm a little guilty of that... blog, Twitter, the ever-present camera.

Except the camera is no longer ever-present. I lost it in the venue in New Orleans. The camera, two lenses and an 8 gig memory card half full of shots from Austin.

Maybe that's life's way of pointing out to me that I shouldn't always view the world through the safe confines of a viewfinder. Put the camera down, Beth. Oh, wait, you won't? Then I'll put it down for you.

I'm sad. Eventually I'll scrape together the money to replace the camera, but the photos that were lost... some were really beautiful.

During my angsty college years, I listened to the Rent soundtrack over and over. There was one particular line that always panged and dug deep into my torso:

Why am I the witness-- and when I capture it on film, will it mean that it's the end and I'm alone?

I am, for the first time in six years, without camera.

I am a camera.

There are 20 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] at 03:06am on 25/03/2009
I have been without mine for the longest time. Sure it was small and not very tech-y, but it was nice and I love it. My computer, being a gazillion years old, decided it did not want to recognize the software. It told me it was there, but when I plugged the camera in...NADA.
I don't know what happened, but after several months, it finally registers and I can (slowly) upload pictures for the moment, so I am happy.
I can definitely relate to how you are feeling though.
Good luck though. You are a brilliant storyteller, so you will be a fine camera on your own until yours is back with you.
posted by [identity profile] at 11:27pm on 25/03/2009
what does your camera save your pictures to? if it's an SD card, you should invest in an SD card reader ( if it's compactflash or something else, you might want to invest in a multimedia reader, like this ( then you can view your photos as if they were saved on a flash drive, and you don't have to worry about any camera software!
posted by [identity profile] at 08:59pm on 26/03/2009
It is an SD card. That Kingston thing looks like it would be a better fot for my computer since my one available USB post is in the back. (I mean just convenience-wise, anyway) but wow, I didn't even know I could do that. Thanks. I definitely need to look into that when I have a few bucks!
posted by [identity profile] at 03:20am on 25/03/2009
Your way with words is heartbreaking sometimes. You shape them nicely.

I hope Austin treated you well. We love it here. We love it more when it's NOT sxsw time or ACL time. It's peaceful and beautiful. You should visit when you're not working.
posted by [identity profile] at 03:44am on 25/03/2009
being in silence

without symbols,

yet alone words

is do-able with practice

one just has to take some time regularly,

and keep letting the words and symbols go

no guilt, no hurry, just letting them go

letting the periods of silence grow

before, during, or after some of this practice:

it's a state of being,
that is worth experiencing the world with

no symbols between you and what you sense

a new universe one (well, @ least i ; - ) never knew was there

not quite an anitpode to the silence

thank you, master shunryu

best -len
posted by [identity profile] at 03:56am on 25/03/2009
Maybe that's life's way of pointing out to me that I shouldn't always view the world through the safe confines of a viewfinder. Put the camera down, Beth. Oh, wait, you won't? Then I'll put it down for you.

Ah! I had a moment just like that at AFP's Seattle show. I brought my video camera along and was totally stoked to film it (I film EVERYTHING in my life ALL of the time), and then once I got there, my camera absolutely refused to focus on anything for absolutely no reason. I was pissy about it for about thirty seconds, but then I put the screen down and had an awesome fucking time instead. As sad as it is that we rarely let ourselves live in the present, it sure makes it more exciting when you actually get the chance to do it.
posted by [identity profile] at 04:03am on 25/03/2009
"You can't take a picture of this; it's already gone." - Six Feet Under
posted by [identity profile] at 04:35am on 25/03/2009
That is heartbreaking.. and freeing at the same time.

But not to detract.. Amanda was playing at One Eyed Jacks right? I have a friend who works there, and I'll tell him to keep an eye out, or see if anyone turned it in.
posted by [identity profile] at 04:49am on 25/03/2009
As a fellow photographer I am heartbroken for you.
Once, I lost my camera (Nikon N60), but got it back 3 months later. It had been a friend for years at that point. I continued to use it for several more years.

My first digital camera (Nikon D70s) lasted a year before I drowned it. It had not been a friend but a titillating lover, a hot girl in a short bright red dress. I pulled it out of the water, and didn't realize what I had done until it was too late. I knew it wouldn't last. It was so shiny and new and I just knew it wasn't going to last.

It took months before a friend of mine got me a good deal on my Nikon D200. It has been a work horse. Not a friend or lover, just a co-worker there to get our picture.

So yeah, I have been there.
posted by [identity profile] at 05:03am on 25/03/2009
Amanda says she doesn't want to be a human camera, documenting every moment of life. I'm a little guilty of that... blog, Twitter, the ever-present camera.

This seems odd to me because she tweets twice as much as you do... Neil Gaiman tweets twice as much as the both of you combined, though.
posted by [identity profile] at 07:02am on 25/03/2009
Being a photographer though you see beautiful or interesting things other people don't otherwise you'd not bother taking certain pictures, so just maybe you are present in life more than those around you? You just take those moments and make them stand still?
posted by [identity profile] at 07:20am on 25/03/2009
The light comes crooked and fast
as the morning breaks through.

She reaches for her lenses,
finds them among scattered thoughts.

Holding them up to her eye now,
the world quiets, the calm beckons.

The streets are empty,
a single bird flies through,
settles on the median, waits,
as if contemplating
a final destination.

The moment asks for no flash.

She obliges, watches from above,
the camera long forgotten
but the picture still taken.
posted by [identity profile] at 03:59pm on 25/03/2009
I like this, especially the ending stanza.
posted by [identity profile] at 10:31am on 25/03/2009
Humans were meant to forget, and to mentally re-write memories until they make sense, so I hesitate to make too many static records by taking a lot of photographs, or worse yet, videoing things.

Blogging everything, on the other hand, helps with the process of mental integration. I rewrite my memories in summary over and over until I can make them make sense as one piece of the larger whole that is my life. The short edges are worn down and patterns emerge, which help me to improve moving forward.

The dangerous flip side to blogging things is going back and re-reading what you wrote after it's faded from memory. We're supposed to forget.
posted by [identity profile] at 10:34am on 25/03/2009
Oh, our poor Beth! I'll mourn your lost love with you.

I suppose I'll take your sign as a sign to stop being upset when I miss capturing moments in digital.

I was sad to hear (from Katrina) that you won't be on tour down here in Florida. When I get a moment, I'll write down a key story and mail it to you. My friend saw how important it was that I send you keys and has (I think) offered to send you one that is very special as well, so you may have two from down here.
posted by [identity profile] at 04:19pm on 25/03/2009
So I was thinking about how this is comparable to when the bag 'o money was lost and then found last Fall. Obviously it's different, especially because the memory card is of higher sentimental value, but the same idea is there. When iPhones and wad of cash was missing no one died, right? You said it yourself in the context of the missing stuff - you are not a brain surgeon and when you fuck up no one dies. But when camera and accessories went missing you said "everything dies." But you are still not a brain surgeon. You did not lose a metal clamp inside. You did not forget to do something integral that can now fuck up someone else's life, or a family's life. Everything does die, and it hurts like hell, but no one dies now.

And I know you find signs in the universe, and people will tell you how this really bad thing can actually be spun into a good thing. I can't do that... but I do feel really bad about this because the camera is your instrument and those photographs are your songs.

You will get them back, in one way or another. I just... really think... this... it's more like I just know it because I do.
posted by [identity profile] at 10:16pm on 25/03/2009
Hey, psychic.
posted by [identity profile] at 11:07pm on 25/03/2009
You don't have to tease me, you know.

But seriously, everyone was like "I think it's lost for good" and I was like "no... it's not" AND how many times did I say that Twitter would help?

It's just one of those things. It's not faith, it's not optimism, it just is what it is.

Can I still get a high five?
posted by [identity profile] at 11:33pm on 25/03/2009
I'm glad you found your camera. I'm sad that I didn't get to meet you in New Orleans, because I didn't make it to New Orleans even though I had tickets.

I've always had a terrible memory, so I make lots of lists and take lots of photos, and write lots of blogs, most of which I never post (just save as text files on my computer). I think documentation is a good thing, but yes, there are definitely times that we need to let go and just live in the moment and embrace the experience rather than being the observer behind the lens. We all find that balance, and I'm sure you have it, otherwise, what would you have to blog about?
posted by [identity profile] at 02:49pm on 26/03/2009
I'm glad you got your camera back. And I'm totally jealous you got to go to SXSW in Austin. I love that town! Maybe next year we can meet there. ;-) Take care and enjoy the silence. All my blessings.



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